About 50 percent of the public said that a local COVID-19 outbreak had reduced their income by 10 to 50 percent, severely constraining their ability to honor mortgage and credit card obligations, a survey released yesterday by Chinatrust Real Estate Co (中信房屋) found.
The survey came after the Directorate-General of Budget, Accounting and Statistics (DGBAS) last week said that the public health crisis raised the unemployment rate for May to 4.11 percent, putting 126,000 people out of work.
Last month, the situation likely deteriorated further due to lingering restrictions on movement and gatherings, the DGBAS said.
The results showed that 49.6 percent of respondents said that a nationwide level 3 COVID-19 alert had negatively affected their incomes, with reductions of 10 to 50 percent over the past two months.
Ten to 16 percent of respondents said that income erosion had made it more difficult to pay their mortgage and credit card bills.
Chinatrust Real Estate said that people should not suspend debt payments without the creditor’s prior approval, as that would damage their credit history and make dealings with the creditor more difficult.
On a NT$10 million (US$357,181) house with a 20-year mortgage at 1.31 percent interest, people typically have a monthly mortgage payment of NT$47,000, the real-estate broker said, adding that this is a heavy financial burden for homeowners who have had their hours reduced, been furloughed or lost their jobs due to the outbreak.
In May, the average take-home pay fell 12.05 percent for jobs in the entertainment and recreational sectors, 4.68 percent in the hospitality industry and up to 5.2 percent for other service-sector jobs, DGBAS data released on Monday showed.
People unable to pay their creditors should contact them and request a grace period, a moratorium or some other arrangement that could extend their overall debt payment schedule, but avoid punitive consequences, Chinatrust Real Estate said.
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